We’re not sure exactly what Navy commanders were thinking here.
Last week, President Donald Trump intervened in the military justice system, providing pardons to two soldiers accused of war crimes. As part of the same announcement, Trump addressed the special case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
The Navy could not move forward with a murder charge against Gallagher, seeing as how one of his colleagues confessed to the crime. But, in an effort to punish Gallagher for posing with the corpse of a dead jihadist, the Navy knocked him down in rank. Trump undid that bit of foolishness, ordering that Gallagher be returned to his rank of Chief Petty Officer.
You would think that Navy officials would get the message. Gallagher’s case has the attention of the commander-in-chief, so, you know, maybe we ought to stop poking the bear. Instead, in an act of near-defiance, commanders moved forward to strip Gallagher of his SEAL Trident.
“Rear Adm. Collin Green on Wednesday planned to notify Gallagher that he has called for a peer-review process, known as a Trident Review Board, to assess whether his fellow SEALs believe he is still suitable to remain on the elite force, said two U.S. officials familiar with the case but not authorized to speak publicly. Green also is calling for a peer-review of three SEAL officers who oversaw Gallagher during his deployment to Iraq in 2017,” reported the Washington Times.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, a lawyer for Gallagher said, “What I’m hearing is that the rear admiral said very disparaging comments about the president and stated his disagreement with the president’s actions and said therefore I want to move forward in removing his Trident.”
On Thursday, President Trump put an end to that nonsense.
“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!” he tweeted.
You’d think THAT would certainly be enough to get the message across, so we were astonished to read this lede over at NPR: “The U.S. Navy said Thursday that it will proceed with a hearing to consider the expulsion of Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher from the Navy SEALs, despite his support from President Trump.”
Well, at this point, all you can do is sit back and wait for the fireworks. We’d say that Rear Adm. Collin Green and any other Navy officials pushing forward with Gallagher’s hearing at this point are playing a dangerous game. They may want to cut their losses while they’re still ahead.